The Bush Administration announced last week just under $22 million in funding for homeless programs in Cuyahoga County, championing an increase in funds nationally, but what is the rest of the story? Federal dollars have increased to homeless programs in order to renew, at the same cost, all the existing programs. For example, in Cuyahoga County of the $22 million given out on February 20, $18.5 million or 88% is to renew existing programs with no cost of living increases to these programs. That renewal burden has increased each year around the country, and has forced the Department of Housing and Urban Development to increase the dollars just to keep the existing services open and operational.
While HUD has had to keep homeless programs open with a larger dollar commitment, they have been conducting a full frontal assault on existing housing programs. Each year the HUD budget has proposed massive cuts to affordable housing, which only creates more homeless people showing up at the shelter doors. HUD has had no problems funding band aid solutions with shelters and expensive but limited housing programs, at the same time they have tried to eliminate their commitment to making housing affordable.
HUD’s Recent History of Reductions in Affordable Housing:
§ In the past two years, HUD has cut $3.3 Billion in funds to affordable housing.
§ They have devastated Public Housing programs including a 26% cut this last year. There has not been one new public housing unit developed for the past 10 years. Nationally, communities have actually lost 100,000 units of public housing in the last 10 years.
§ HUD has not developed one new non-elderly subsidized housing unit in Northeast Ohio for years.
§ The 2008 Budget requests cuts to the HUD Section 811 housing program for disabled people, and the HUD Section 202 housing program for the elderly.
§ The 2008 Budget request defers $20 Billion in public housing modernization until some unknown time in the future, and proposes another $415 million cut in public housing capital dollars.
I am asking all media when reporting the story of the small increase in funds going to homelessness mention the huge cuts to housing programs by HUD. While HUD champions their commitment to ending homelessness in 10 years, which happens to be two years after they leave office, they cut many of the mainstream programs that homeless people depend on to move into housing. One year of funding homeless programs in the United States is $1.4 billion dollars for the millions of homeless people in America, which compares to over $300 billion spent to fund the War in Iraq and a current $100 billion supplemental funding bill pending in Congress to support the war.Brian
Posts by Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless staff and Board.